SciTech

SciTech Roundup, Nov. 1

The above diagram depicts ratings of how measurable each of the given physics concepts are by six Carnegie Mellon physics faculty members, plotted against a score calculated using a formula based on brain activation patterns in the brains of 10 other physics faculty members. We see that more measurable concepts, such as torque, acceleration, and frequency seem to activate the brain in the same ways, whereas less measurable concepts such as dark matter, multiverse, and cosmology also seem to trigger the same brain activation patterns. (credit: Mason, R.A., Schumacher, R.A. & Just, M.A. ) The above diagram depicts ratings of how measurable each of the given physics concepts are by six Carnegie Mellon physics faculty members, plotted against a score calculated using a formula based on brain activation patterns in the brains of 10 other physics faculty members. We see that more measurable concepts, such as torque, acceleration, and frequency seem to activate the brain in the same ways, whereas less measurable concepts such as dark matter, multiverse, and cosmology also seem to trigger the same brain activation patterns. (credit: Mason, R.A., Schumacher, R.A. & Just, M.A. ) Credit: Courtesy of the National Institute on Aging Credit: Courtesy of the National Institute on Aging

CMU Research Roundup

A national effort to slow down aging by looking at each cell

As cells age and get damaged, they can stop replicating and cause inflammation, which, in turn, causes other cells to get damaged as well. These cells are called senescent cells, and have been linked to a variety of age-related conditions such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and others. Scientists are hoping to find ways to clear senescent cells in order to prevent these conditions. Carnegie Mellon researchers are joining the $125 million national effort from the National Institute of Health to understand senescence and possible solutions. They will be primarily developing SenNet, a program in which they will generate data to feed a "navigable, 3D map of the body that offers data and analysis on cellular aging."

Innovation in farm animal tracking technology

Animals tend to be raised in large herds on large stretches of land for efficiency, but it makes it hard for farmers to track each individual animal's location and health. Ear tags developed by Carnegie Mellon WiTech Lab's Swarun Kumar, associate professor of engineering, can track biometrics, location, and acceleration of animals using solar energy and low-power, wide-area networking (LP-WAN). LP-WAN enables data to be transmitted across long distances using less energy than alternatives, which is useful across the long distances that animals can travel across a pasture.

Looking at brains of physics professors

Have you ever wondered what's going on in the head of your physics professor? Robert Mason, senior research associate, Reinhard Schumacher, professor of physics, and Marcel Just, the D.O. Hebb University Professor of Psychology, conducted research to get you closer to finding out the answer. Their study found that the brain activity of physics faculty when processing physics concepts was remarkably similar to each other, categorizing concepts as measurable (like velocity) and immeasurable (like dark matter), and using the part of the brain that recognizes rhythm in dance and music to understand periodic concepts such as oscillation.

National Headlines

Facebook announces new name: Meta

Last week, Facebook announced it would rename itself in order to fit its vision of building a metaverse but did not reveal the name. On Oct. 28, the company announced that the name would be Meta. In a virtual event, it depicted this envisioned metaverse as being able to allow consumers to be transported to different virtual worlds, such as workplaces, concerts, and hangouts with friends and family.

Facebook seems to have a number of motives for this rebrand. For one, the announcement comes at a time when the company is facing heavy accusations from whistleblowers on prioritizing profits over the mental health and digital safety of their consumers. The idea of the metaverse also allows Facebook to be less dependent on Google and Apple, whose platforms Facebook usually has to host their apps on, and also can potentially allow them to appeal to a younger audience, another old sore spot of theirs.

iPhone adds feature to store COVID-19 vaccination card to Apple Wallet

iPhone users can now more safely digitize their COVID-19 vaccination cards to their phone using Apple Wallet. Android users can use Google Pay and Samsung users can use Samsung Pay to do the same.

Donald Trump's new social media app facing troubles

Oct. 20, hours after former President Donald Trump announced the creation of his yet-to-be-released Twitter-like social media app, Truth Social, hackers managed to get access to a private version of the network, posting memes and "expletive-laced rants," showing the lax security of the application. In addition, it was found that the code for Truth Social was taken from Mastodon, an open-source media framework that requires published creations based on Mastodon's code to make their own code open-source too. Truth Social's code is decidedly not open-source, and they could be sued by Mastodon if they do not make their code public within a month.